The internet is an essential part of the world we live in and has become a large part of childhood. This digital age requires parents to be informed and educated on how to ensure their child’s safety when using the internet. This article will cover the online risks and how you as a parent can take action to protect your child and ensure they have positive experiences.

Understanding Online Risks

Cyberbullying, inappropriate content, and privacy concerns are just a few risks that parents need to be educated on in order to maintain a safe online experience for kids.

  • Cyberbullying: Online harassment that aims to threaten, embarrass, or target another person. This is unfortunately a common experience for kids as 45.5% of kids in middle and high school have reported being cyberbullied. 
  • Exposure to Inappropriate Content: Be vigilant of what your kids are seeing to prevent them from exposure to inappropriate content such as foul language or explicit images. 
  • Privacy and Data Security: Kids can be targeted victims of phishing, viruses, and identity theft. Teaching kids to never give personal information out online and creating strong passwords can protect against this risk.

What is a Digital Footprint?

A digital footprint is a “trail of data that a person creates while using the internet”. Digital footprints include any online activities such as using social media, online gaming sites, or browsing search engines. Informing kids about this concept is important so they can be mindful about their online activities.

Recognizing Warning Signs

Be aware of signs that your child may be partaking in unsafe or inappropriate internet interactions. Some common signs include behavioral changes, a change in eating habits, or spending excessive time online. If you notice your child showing any of these signs you should encourage an open dialogue to see how you can help and support them.

How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

There are many tactics parents can use to ensure their child’s online safety. Here are a few ideas:

  • Parental Control Software: Utilize tools such as parental control software. These tools can help you set age-appropriate restrictions and monitor your child’s activities on apps and websites. 
  • Safe Online Practices: Teach your child safe browsing practices by setting a good example, time limits, and not sharing any personal information.
  • Open Communication with Your Child: Encourage your kids to communicate about their online activities with you, especially if they have a problem. 

Key Takeaways

The internet can be a dangerous place but there are ways to manage your child’s internet practices to maximize their safety. Being educated on the risks of internet usage is key in ensuring your child’s digital safety and wellbeing. Use safety tools and softwares to assist with management of digital interactions but most importantly show your love and support to keep open communication. It’s a good thing Mrs. Prout’s Class is Awesome.